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Ed Sheeran

Quinn puts prison logic over Treaty and human rights
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The author of a controversial law that bars all prisoners from voting says he was trying to fix a situation where some prisoners could vote and others couldn't.

The Waitangi Tribunal has found the 2010 amendment to the Electoral Act breaches the Treaty of Waitangi because its effect is to remove Māori from the voting rolls at a far higher rate than non-Māori.

Former MP Paul Quinn from Ngāti Awa says he was unhappy that previously the ban only applied to prisoners doing a sentence of three years or more - which seemed illogical.

"In effect I said you’re either all in our all out. If you go to prison you lose the right to vote and proposed a bill accordingly," he says.

The Supreme Court has found the law breaches the Human Rights Act, but Mr Quinn says MPs were aware of that when they voted for it.

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